Barbara Plant, GMB union National President
& Lindsay England, Just a Ball Game?
JUST A BALL GAME? would like to bring to your attention that despite advancement and acceptance in certain social contexts homophobic, biphobic and transphobic (HBT) bullying and abuse still occurs for many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people within a sporting environment. This discrimination often becomes hate crime and affects athletes, managers, club staff, match day casual workers and public alike.
There is still very much a need to combat the discrimination, provide education through the many benefits of equality, inclusion and diversity to help put an end to exclusion, bullying or physical violence.
Research shows half of football/sports fans - say they have heard homophobic abuse at matches. Many football fans think having a gay player on a team would make other team-mates feel uncomfortable, they also believe gay players should "keep it to themselves” while some said they would stop watching their team if they signed a gay player. Despite many players in the women’s game being “out” HBT bullying occurs here too.
Just a Ball Game is linking GMB union Equalities Group, to work with our existing LGBT+ campaign organization both regionally and nationally. Providing financial support from branches and experience with workplace equality structures and educational settings, so we can tailor our interactive workshops and presentations to fit accordingly.
We have a number of resources available, a few of these have been created in partnership with the TUC and trade unions, and we also have educational exhibition panels, some of which feature our LGBT+ patrons.
Our founder Lindsay England is a GMB activist and in the past 3 years has been recognized with being Bradford City FC’s first-ever LGBT+ champion, given the Bradford Pride LGBT+ Champion in 2017, and in 2019 awarded UK Prime Minister’s Points of Light award for 17 years service to LGBT+ inclusion in sport.
JBG? who have been at the forefront in challenging HBT bullying and abuse for 9 years believe that their project work is a great way to showcase LGBT+ inclusion and visibility. In addition to this, there is a captive audience of potential new trade union members, and a chance to showcase GMB trade union equalities workload and educate around trade union history.